Graduated from Alamo Heights HS in San Antonio in 2016...was pitching for his high school team on the night of the 2016 draft (June 8) when he was selected by Houston...that night, which was the UIL Class 5A Semifinal at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Whitley fanned 11 in 6.2 innings on 123 pitches to lead his club into the state championship game... In regular-season action, Whitley posted a 9-1 record and a 0.31 ERA in his senior season at Alamo Heights...struck out 126 batters in his 68.0 innings of work...for his stellar senior season in 2016, he was named to the Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-America and Texas All-Region 1st Team... Also, has international experience, having played on the USA Baseball 18U National Team in 2015... Selected by Houston with the 17th overall pick in the first round in the 2016 draft...was the only high school player taken by Houston in the top 25 rounds in 2016...officially signed by the Astros on June 22, 2016...signed by Astros scout Noel Gonzales-Luna... Added to the Astros 40-man roster prior to the 2021 season and used his first option year last season... this year will be his second at Major League Spring Training as a 40-man player...was also an NRI at MLB Spring Training in 2019 and 2020.
Reported to Major League Spring Training in 2021, but did not pitch in a game...optioned to minor league camp on March 12...experienced discomfort in his elbow while throwing live batting practice in a Spring Training workout...underwent ulnar collateral ligament reconstructive surgery (Tommy John) on his right elbow on March 17...the surgery, which went as planned, was performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, TX...recovery time is generally 12-14 months.
Was a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training for the second consecutive season in 2020...made four appearances for the Astros (5ER/6IP) before the COVID-19 shutdown...reported to Summer Camp and impressed in live BPs but did not make the Opening Day roster...spent his entire 2020 season on the 60-man player pool at the Astros Alternate Training site...had his season cut short due to a right forearm strain.
Combined to post a 3-7 record with a 7.99 ERA (53ER/59.2IP), 44 walks and 86 strikeouts between four levels in the Astros system: Triple A Round Rock (8g), Double A Corpus Christi (6g), Class A Advanced Fayetteville (2g) and GCL Astros (2g)...began the year at Round Rock before being placed on the injured list on May 29...began a minor league rehab assignment in July that took him through the GCL Astros and Fayetteville Woodpeckers... moved up to Corpus Christi in August and finished out the season with the Hooks...pitched in the Arizona Fall League following the year and went 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA (8ER/25IP) in six starts for Peoria.
Made eight regular season starts for Double A Corpus Christi, going 0-2 with a 3.76 ERA (11ER/26.1IP)... fanned 34 in his 26.1 innings pitched...didn't debut with the Hooks until June 8 following a 50-game suspension handed down by MLB...made six consecutive starts and exited his outing on July 5 with an oblique injury...was an MLB Futures Game selection but was unable to participate in the contest due to injury...returned to the mound in August to make two more starts before re-injuring his oblique... returned for the postseason, making one start on Sept. 7 at San Antonio (1ER/2.2IP)...following the regular season, pitched for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League, where he as named an AFL Rising Star...posted a 2.42 ERA (7ER/26IP) with 36 strikeouts in 26.0 innings across six starts...earned AFL Pitcher of the Week on Oct. 13...finished his campaign with his best performance of the season, tossing 5.0 scoreless, allowing just one hit with nine strikeouts on Nov. 15 vs. Peoria.
Worked his way up the Astros minor league system, moving from Class A Quad Cities to Advanced Class A Buies Creek to Double A Corpus Christi...by doing so, he became just the fifth player in a 20-year span to be drafted out of high school and advance to the Double A level in his first full minor league season, joining Chad Billingsley, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Dylan Bundy...combined to post a 5-4 record with a 2.83 ERA (29ER/92.1IP) with 143 strikeouts in 23 games (18 starts)...was named an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star following the season.
Debuted as a professional, tossing 18.2 innings in eight games between two affiliates...signed his professional contract on June 22 after being drafted on June 8.